With MAN v FAT Football leagues launching all over the country in September and more launching in January (have a look at the leagues here and register to play) we wanted to give you an insight into what that first league season is like. Who better to give their perspective than Pete West who has just finished his first season and who has learned a thing or two along the way.
A few months ago, I was 300 or so steps into a half mile journey and I was in agony. My back was aching so badly that I was walking funny to ease the pain, this resulted in terrible pain in my knees. I was in a right state, I was 47 years old, way overweight, drinking too much and not exercising.
During the week that followed I saw an item on “The One Show” promoting a new program in Birmingham designed specifically to help men lose weight – MANvFAT Football. It appeared that there were a lot of big guys playing 6-a-side football, losing weight and having fun. It looked very original and very interesting so I decided to look further into it.
I visited the website and registered my interest. As expected, because of the publicity from the show, the response had been overwhelming, “Well, that’s it then,” I thought. “There isn’t much chance of being selected for this when I can’t even manage to walk half a mile!” Needless to say, I didn’t expect to hear anything else. It was therefore a total shock when I received an email informing me that I could join and outlining the league rules, the fixture lists and the team I would be playing for….I suddenly had team mates!
To say I was apprehensive on arrival the first evening was an understatement, in fact, to put it plainly, I was petrified. What if I am the fattest bloke here? What if I can’t run? What if I am total crap at football? And to make matters worse, the first thing I had to do was weigh in….nightmare!
I met Shan and had a brief chat about what had led me to where I was in terms of my weight, I was issued with a MAN v FAT Player Handbook to track my progress which was full of useful tips and things to consider regarding eating decisions and lots of little challenges to help with personal motivation. I was then off to meet my new team mates.
Some typical meals that I eat now.
I cannot stress enough that my apprehension was totally unjustified, my team mates were a great bunch of guys who, just like me, were looking to lose weight by playing football. I felt at home straightaway, they knew (as they themselves had been through the same thing) exactly what I was going through. They were welcoming and encouraging, I was really looking forward to getting on the pitch.
I needn’t have been so excited, my first foray over the white line lasted about ninety seconds which ended with me trying to breathe through my backside whilst waiting for my heart to explode out of my chest, it was official….I was total crap!it was official….I was total crap!
To my surprise, my team mates encouraged me to go on again during the second half, which obviously, ended in a similar way. However, to my amazement, I had managed to play over three minutes! It was clear at the end of the game that they found my pathetic excuse at playing football totally hilarious, but here’s the thing, they all confessed to being exactly the same when they started. Each one telling me that the first three weeks are the worst. I appreciated the sentiment but doubted I would last that long as I was convinced that my body would give up on me way before my determination did…………….it didn’t.
I have just completed my first MANvFAT season, 14 weeks of football highs and lows, weigh-ins and the best banter on the planet. So how did I do?
I am still 47 yrs old, I am still over weight, I am not drinking too much and I am exercising more, in fact, I am now capable of playing the entire match if required! I have lost 16.5kg or 36lbs, which is 10% of my total weight and have finished top of the weight loss table for the entire league…..in short, I feel fantastic!
The new season starts again soon and I cannot wait, my target is to lose a further 15kg by the end of it and maybe, just maybe score a goal this time around!
The change in me over the past four months has been dramatic and not just in the way that I look or feel, but predominantly in the way that I think.
I have never completed or accomplished anything that was difficult, my natural pessimism would always kick in, I’d convince myself I couldn’t do it and give up. Looking back at the first conversation with Shan, this is probably more likely why I ended up the way I did. It was far easier to sit in the armchair – it didn’t hurt, it didn’t make me breathe hard or make me ache in the morning, but do you know what? It wasn’t much fun either.
I know I have got a long way to go and a whole lot to do to reach my goals, but the difference is I now know I can do it. 14 weeks ago I could barely walk a flight of stairs, now I run them. It’s not pretty to watch but hey, I don’t really care and there is only one reason why I do it…because I can!